LIVE IN-PERSON this year at the Toronto Reference Library! PLUS some exclusive ONLINE events for our international friends. The Toronto Animation Industry Conference 2022 is 3-days of snuggling up to creators, directors and the best ANIMATION | GAMING | VFX peeps we can find!
Catch it all live, Toronto time (ET) or come back and watch the online segments for three months after.
*Mainstage Saturday will be IN-PERSON ONLY!
**Any passholder can watch online segments later.
Plan on joining us each day for a selection of epic curated treats, and stick around after to rub elbows with fellow attendees and a slew of super nice speakers.
AMY SMEED (Head of Animation) began her professional career at Walt Disney Animation Studios in 1998, working as an assistant (in the scene set-up department) on the production of “Dinosaur,” and went on to become an animator in 2004 on “Chicken Little” (2005). Since then, she has served as head of animation on the Oscar®-nominated films “Moana” and “Raya and the Last Dragon.” She also animated on such Disney Animation features as “Meet the Robinsons,” “Bolt,” “Tangled,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” the Oscar® winner “Frozen,” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet.”
Hired by Disney Animation as a trainee in 2011, he got his first feature film experience animating crowds for “Wreck-It Ralph.” He was promoted to an animator on “Frozen” and went on to other assignments on “Big Hero 6,” “Zootopia” and “Moana.” In his role as supervising animator on “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” Sklar helped to guide the character of Ralph, and played a key role in creating the “Ralphzilla” character (who was nominated for a VES Award). For “Frozen 2” he worked with the team on the characters of Kristoff and Matthias and on “Raya and the Last Dragon” he supervised the character of Namaari. He observes, “the cool thing about animation is that each movie is like a new puzzle to figure out. It’s changing all the time, and no matter what you’ve done, there’s always something new to learn.”
Andy Suriano is a 20+ year veteran of animation and comics, having worked on such series as Samurai Jack, Disney's Mickey Mouse shorts and most recently was an Executive Producer of the RISE of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Nickelodeon. Currently Andy co-directing the RISE movie for Netflix.
Working in the industry since 2003, Jessica had her start in animation at Spumco working on The New Ren and Stimpy. From there she ventured to the East Coast and worked with Collideascope and Copernicus on various projects, from music videos to television series. Soon after she created her own short film entitled "I Like Pandas" This earned Jessica the "Frederator Flash Film of the Year Award". Fuel Industries, an adver-gaming agency, hired Jess in 2005. She art directed many projects there and worked with clients such as Kraft Foods, Johnson&Johnson, and McDonald's, creating beautiful immersive online gaming. The popularity of her short film earned her notice from WB. She was approached by them to re-design the Looney Tunes, and from there went on to direct the "Merrie Melodies" part of the show. She also re-imagined Bugs and the gang again for the Wabbit series, which evolved into "The New Looney Tunes Show". Jessica went on to work on many of the WB legacy properties. One DC Nation Short, featuring Shazam, entitled "WISDOM" that she produced was nominated for an Emmy. She also produced the series Bunnicula for Cartoon Network International. Today Nickelodeon is her new home and she is currently the Supervising Director on Loud House.
Pendleton Ward created the Emmy winning series Adventure Time and directed the psychedelic interview show Midnight Gospel for Netflix. Pen loves 3D modeling in Blender and lives in a foggy biome with his two pugs Slug & Booger.
Shaleen Sangha has been a part of the Boat Rocker team since 2017. As a Vice President of Boat Rocker Studios, Kids and Family, Shaleen oversees the day-to-day operations of its Toronto division with a focus on creative development and production.
Shaleen has a passion for content and focuses on building meaningful heartfelt stories that resonate with today’s youth. Shaleen was Executive Producer of The Next Step, Season 7, and a CSA nominee as Supervising Producer of the The Next Step, Season 6. Shaleen has served as Creative Executive on series such as A Tale Dark and Grimm, The Strange Chores, Polly Pocket, Chip and Potato, Chuck’s Choice, Doozers, Looped and many more. Shaleen was instrumental in building online content for many of the series on her slate including the Chuck’s Choice: Choose Your Own Pet Adventure and the Addison: The Invention Detective app.
Arthur Loftis is an art director at Titmouse Los Angeles, currently working on the record-breaking Kickstarter success, The Legend of Vox Machina. As a Critical Role fan, aka “critter,” he works closely with the creative executives to forge an animated adaptation which honors the source material and introduces new viewers to the story. Leading a team of 2D and 3D artists who bring fresh ideas to the world of fantasy action-adventure cartoons, the group’s passion for Dungeons and Dragons brings them together on the weekend. Arthur’s previous credits include: Voltron: Legendary Defender, Motorcity and Son of Zorn.
Ant Ward is an award-winning animator, writer, and producer. He has worn many hats working on several shows, including Camp Lazlo, Penguins of Madagascar, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He recently served as an Executive Producer for Nickelodeon’s Rise of the TMNT and Co-Directed the Rise movie for Netflix.
Eric Adrian Bauza is a Canadian-American voice actor from Scarborough, Toronto who is known for being one of Mel Blanc's successors for Looney Tunes characters such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. He also voiced Stimpy Cat in Ren & Stimpy: Adult Party Cartoon, White Pantera in El Tigre, Foop from The Fairly OddParents, Fozzie Bear from Muppet Babies and the Beagle Boys from DuckTales.
But most importantly he voiced Splinter in RISE of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV Series
The son of steampunk magicians, Nathaniel Larouche is an Emmy & Visual Effects Society nominated VFX Supervisor at Pixomondo Toronto. Nathaniel was born and raised near Montreal where he enjoyed being the weird kid, filming everything in sight, and experimenting with editing and stop motion animation. Later on in life, he found himself in Toronto, where he studied animation and realized VFX was a medium that combined everything he enjoyed.
Most recently he completed three virtual production shoots on Pixomondos LED volumes including Star Trek Discovery, Strange New Worlds and Beacon 23.
TAAFI is looking for two great pitches to go head to head in front of a diverse panel of animation industry experts and yours could be one of them! Pitch competitions usually only offer critiques by industry execs. The Big Pitch will have a panel of judges representing departments throughout the animation pipeline. You’ll learn not only what makes a pitch sell but how to make it work from every angle. Submit your animated TV or web series concept by November 2, 2022 for a chance to be chosen as one of our two finalists who will pitch to a live audience from the TAAFI main stage.
Click here for more info!
The TAAFI Industry Meet & Greet is a special chance to have a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with various industry experts from around the world from such studios as Guru, Headspinner, Epic Story Media, CBC, Industrial Brothers and more!
Click HERE to see who our execs are this year.
Jeanna LeClair is a graphic designer, artist, and illustrator. She has been a part of TAAFI for over eight years, translating the show themes into signs, posters, booklets, banners, badges and more! Jeanna has been the main creative lead behind the last three TAAFI Industry Conference events, going big with bright colours and graphics to bring a fresh new look each time. When not working on TAAFI, or playing endless amounts of Stardew Valley, Jeanna works as a freelance graphic designer for Ubisoft.